On June 3, 2020, the Ninth Circuit dismissed a wage and hour class action on the grounds that once the class representative plaintiff settled his individual claims and no longer had any financial stake in the litigation’s outcome, the entire litigation was moot.
In Brady v. AutoZone Stores, Inc. and Autozoners, LLC, Plaintiff Michael Brady brought a class action suit against AutoZone Stores, Inc. and Autozoners LLC for allegedly failing to provide its nonexempt employees with meal breaks in accordance with Washington state law. After several years of litigation, Brady settled ...
By Michael Kun
Several years ago, employees in California began filing class action lawsuits against their employers alleging violations of the “suitable seating” provision buried in the state’s Wage Orders. The unique provision requires some employers to provide “suitable seating” to some employees when the “nature of their work” would “reasonably permit it.”
The use of multiple sets of quotation marks in the previous sentence should give readers a good idea just how little guidance employers have about the obscure law.
The California Supreme Court is now ...
By Michael Kun
We have written previously in this blog about California’s obscure “suitable seating” law, which requires that some employers provide “suitable seating” to some employees.
In short, the plaintiffs’ bar recently discovered a provision buried in California’s Wage Orders requiring employers to provide “suitable seating” to employees when the nature of their jobs would reasonably permit it. The provision was not designed to cover employees in the hospitality industry who often stand to show that they are ready to assist customers. Instead, it was ...
By Michael Kun
As we have written before in this space, the latest wave of class actions in California is one alleging that employers have not complied with obscure requirements requiring the provision of “suitable seating” to emploees – and that employees are entitled to significant penalties as a result.
The “suitable seating” provisions are buried so deep in Wage Orders that most plaintiffs’ attorneys were not even aware of them until recently. Importantly, they do not require all employers to provide seats to all employees. Instead, they provide that employers ...
Following up on the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in See’s Candy v. Superior Court, a California federal court has now dismissed a time-rounding class action against H.J. Heinz Company. And, once again, the court has relied upon the decision in our case Alonzo v. Maximus.
This, of course, is more good news for employers with operations in California. Between See’s Candy and Maximus, it will be exceedingly hard for plaintiffs to proceed with time-rounding class actions against employers who have even-handed time-rounding policies ...
After five years of litigation, a Los Angeles Superior Court has denied class certification of a class action against Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurants on claims that its managers were misclassified as exempt and denied meal and rest periods in violation of California law. The court found that the plaintiffs had not established adequacy of class representatives, typicality, commonality or superiority, and emphasized a defendant’s due process right to provide individualized defenses to class members’ claims.
Because the case was handled by our ...
By Michael Kun
This morning, the California Supreme Court has just issued its long-awaited decision in the Brinker case regarding meal and rest period requirements. It is largely, but not entirely, a victory for employers. A copy of the decision is here.
A few highlights of the decision:
On rest periods, the Court confirmed the certification of a rest period class because Brinker’s written policy arguably did not comply with the law as to the second rest period in a day. In so doing, it clarified when employees are entitled to rest periods:
- Employees are entitled to 10 minutes’ rest ...
Two recent decisions on arbitration, one from the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") and one from the Supreme Court of the United States, present an interesting question: Can employers limit employees from launching potentially costly class actions? Some employers have applicants or new employees sign a separate agreement, or include a clause in application forms or in the employee handbook (which employees acknowledge), requiring employees to bring future disputes to arbitration and to agree that the ...
by Michael Kun
Some were beginning to wonder whether it would ever happen. After more than two years, the California Supreme Court has announced a hearing date in the much-awaited Brinker v. Superior Court case -- November 8, 2011.
Unless the Court takes a detour, California employers should finally know the answer to a question that has long driven California's billion dollar wage-hour class action industry -- must an employer "ensure" that employers take meal and rest periods, or are they only required to make them "available" to employees.
Should the Supreme Court rule that ...
On May 10, 2011, the Southern District of New York conditionally certified a collective action against eight New York metropolitan area restaurants owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In the action, restaurant servers argue that the Batali restaurants are paying employees less than minimum wage and unlawfully retaining a portion of their tips.
The primary allegation in the lawsuit is that the restaurants deduct from the employee tip pool a portion of all credit-card tips equal to ...
By: Michael Kun
Employers who do business in California are already well aware of the wage-hour class actions that have besieged employers in virtually every industry. Class claims for misclassification of employees as exempt employees or independent contractors first began to be filed more than a decade ago, and continue to be filed on a daily basis. Claims for alleged work off-the-clock and missed meal and rest periods by non-exempt employees generally began later, but continue to be filed at an alarming rate.
Now we can add to those cases a new wave of California class actions ...
By: Kara M. Maciel
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California has denied certification of a class action against Joe's Crab Shack restaurants on claims that employees worked off-the-clock, were denied meal and rest breaks, and were required to purchase t-shirts to wear at work. Because the case was handled by our EpsteinBeckerGreen colleagues Michael Kun and Aaron Olsen, we do not believe it is appropriate to comment on the decision or its implications. If you would like to read the decision, a copy may be found here.
EBG is holding its annual NY briefing for clients and friends on Oct. 28. This full-day program will feature a special, two-hour workshop just for employers in the hospitality and retail industries, updating the many recent and significant labor and employment law developments affecting the industry. We will provide real-world guidance on how to manage the risks your company faces from increasingly aggressive plaintiffs' lawyers and government investigators who have openly and unabashedly targeted the industry.
Topics on the workshop agenda include:
- Wage and hour class ...
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